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GLCC agrees policy statements to promote “responsible” leather

A meeting of the Global Leather Coordinating Committee (GLCC) took place in Hong Kong on 30 March. The GLCC is an umbrella body that includes representatives from the International Council of Hide, Skins and Leather Traders Associations (ICHSLTA), the International Council of Tanners (ICT) and the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS). There were 17 representatives present from these organisations at this, the latest meeting.

The GLCC has been working on a series of policy statements that explain and promote the industry’s “responsible and practical approach to issues liable to be raised by customers or in the media”. Subject to some final editing, the committee has now agreed statements on the traceability of hides and skins and on veterinary health certificates.

The finalised, full versions will be posted on the ICT website.

The Committee also agreed to promote the IULTCS document ‘IUE 12 - Guidelines for Minimum Environmental Standards’, which is shortly to be published and which will define a minimum benchmark that all tanneries should be able to achieve. Establishing a position on corporate social responsibility is something the committee undertook to do in future.

Something else that came up for discussion in Hong Kong was an update on leather labelling issues, on which the industry continues to press for clear and accurate regulations and enforcement. There were also updates on environmental footprinting, in particular the European modelling of the product environmental footprint for leather and within the FAO-facilitated LEAP (Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance) partnership.

Regarding the complex area of chemical management, delegates agreed to co-operate in discussions with the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) initiative, to ensure that guidelines for the leather industry took full account of the specific requirements of leather. It was also agreed to share information on industry-based certification schemes.

The next GLCC meeting will be hosted by IULTCS and the China Leather Industry Association in Shanghai on August 31, 2017.

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